October 4, 2011
Iran has widely blocked the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to keep Iranian web users from circumventing the government’s filters.
VPNs allow surfers in Iran to sign on to a server in another country and pretend that’s where they are actually located. In this way, they bypass the Islamic Republic’s filters and avoid Iranian government efforts to track the surfer’s visit.
Reza Taghipour, Iran’s Minister of Communication and Technology, said: “Blocking VPNs has nothing to do with the launch of a national network, and basically the use of VPNs is illegal.”
The Islamic Republic has announced plans for a closed, national internet, which it refers to as a “clean internet.” Once the strictly controlled network is running in Iran, officials say they hope to provide it for all the people on Earth.
Following the 2009 election, allegations that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gained his victory through vote fraud triggered widespread protests, and the internet and social networking sites were widely used to rally protesters.
The government crushed the protests through widespread arrests and, since then, has been making every effort to filter out popular websites, especially Persian-language websites abroad.
The move to set up a national internet appears to be the ultimate plan to cut off the Iranian people’s access to the world wide web.
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